The following post is written by Andrew Marin, President and Founder of The Marin Foundation
I’ve lived in Illinois my whole life (well, except for the past two and a half months while in St. Andrews). Illinois is where every word of Love Is an Orientation was lived in real-time. And last night, after a few failed attempts over the past year to secure enough votes in the Illinois House of Representatives for the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (as it passed the Senate each time), gay marriage passed the House, and will be on Governor Quinn’s desk to sign asap. From all reports, the first ceremonies will be held in June 2014. I would like to offer a few reflections.
First, for all of those LGBT couples that, for all intents and purposes, have been married for years, if not decades, I want to congratulate each of you for your now legal right to receive both the State and Federal benefits you deserve as citizens of the United States of America.
Second, for all of those LGBTs who are not yet married, I plead with you that you treat the (wait for it, our favorite phrase…) institution of marriage with more care and reverence than your heterosexual counterparts have done. In my mind, if there is one way to “legitimize” your marriages in the eyes of more conservative religious folks, it is that monogamy and fidelity in marriage for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health, are actually meant and are statistically proven. We all know the general population (and Christian!) divorce rates are staggering. I pray you lessen that abominable statistic.
Third, we must all remember that just because marriage equality was passed in Illinois, it was not passed unanimously! In yesterday’s vote, it passed the Senate 32-21 (with six non-votes); and it passed the House 61-54 (with three non-votes). These numbers are not what I would call a landslide by any stretch of the imagination. Illinois’ Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act passed the Senate by a total of 54% majority. The House by a total of 52% majority. The reality is there are a lot of people, organizations, institutions, and politicians who do not agree with gay marriage. As I articulated more thoroughly here, here, and here, just because something legally changes does not necessarily mean the “opponent’s” (whomever that might be for whatever given situation) worldview of normalcy changes. The reality is, as we all knew from long ago and yet seem to have forgotten, life isn’t as easy and simple as winner or loser.
Therefore I pray for two things in particular for my State today:
That we all will focus on love as God’s overarching principle, exemplified through the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus Christ, in which we engage, whether in-person or online, our opponent who is either celebrating or fuming on this day, a day that shifts the course of our State’s trajectory.
And that LGBTs, their advocates, and our State’s everyday conservative churches would all commit to working together to ensure that the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act would be implemented to its rule–such that there will always be religious freedom just as there is freedom for LGBT people to rightly marry.